Katy Balls

Katy Balls

Katy Balls is The Spectator’s political editor.

Tory leadership race latest: what’s going on?

14 min listen

The Conservatives need to choose a new leader, but first they need to agree on the process… Easier said than done. Lucy Dunn talks to Fraser Nelson and Katy Balls about the latest on the upcoming leadership race: what will the race look like, who are the the runners and riders, and how do they

Katy Balls

Tories divided over leadership contest rules

There had been hope that the Tories would announce the rules and timetable for the party’s leadership contest before the week was out. Then, next week, would-be candidates could seek the required number of nominations to stand and spend the summer recess wooing members as they pleased ahead of knockout rounds in September when parliament

Keir Starmer: ‘We want to reset relationships with EU’

14 min listen

Keir Starmer is at Blenheim Palace today for the gathering of the European Political Community, the forum created by Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the new Prime Minister met with many world leaders last week in Washington for the Nato summit, this is his first time he has

Katy Balls

Will Keir Starmer’s EU ‘reset’ pay off?

Keir Starmer is at Blenheim Palace today for the gathering of the European Political Community, the forum created by Emmanuel Macron in the wake of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. While the new Prime Minister met with many world leaders last week in Washington for the Nato summit, this is his first time he has

Katy Balls

The new divide in Labour

Labour MPs ought to have been jubilant when they gathered for their weekly all-party parliamentary meeting on Monday. Most were still riding high after their party won a landslide majority. Yet there was a frisson of unease as some of the new flock took the opportunity to raise a grievance: the two-child benefit cap. ‘It’s

What was missing from the King’s Speech?

16 min listen

Labour has set out its ambitious missions in the King’s Speech to open a new parliament today. On the podcast, Oscar Edmondson speaks to Katy Balls and former Labour advisor John McTernan about what was expected – and what was missing – from the legislative agenda. Produced by Oscar Edmondson and Cindy Yu.

Katy Balls

The race to replace Rishi as Tory leader is about to begin

Who will lead the Conservative party in opposition? By Tory party conference, we should have the answer. After much debate about the rules and timing of the contest to succeed Rishi Sunak, a timetable is expected to be announced later this week when the party board meets. There are two options being discussed at present:

Two-child benefit cap row – Starmer’s first big test?

13 min listen

Keir Starmer is coming under pressure to commit to scrapping the two-child benefit cap, introduced in 2017 by the Conservatives. Plaid Cymru, the Greens, Nigel Farage, the SNP, and now some Labour backbenchers are all calling for its removal. Can Starmer hold the line? Elsewhere: in Wales, First Minister Vaughan Gething has resigned after four

Katy Balls

Is JD Vance really good news for Labour?

Donald Trump put an end to speculation on Monday over who would be his pick for vice president, with the announcement that JD Vance is the man for the job. With Trump riding high in the polls, that appointment is quickly being studied in the States and Europe for what it could mean for a

What change will Labour’s Justice Secretary bring?

There has been much attention over the past week over how new MPs have chosen to be sworn in. This new parliament is the most openly non-religious in history. Around 40 per cent of MPs, including the Prime Minister, chose to take the secular affirmation rather than a religious oath. Half the new Labour cabinet

Katy Balls

David Lammy calls for Gaza ceasefire

David Lammy is visiting Israel and the Palestinian Territories – his first trip to the Middle East as Foreign Secretary. On his meeting list so far are Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Authority prime minister Mohammad Mustafa and relatives of the hostages taken on 7 October. The Foreign Secretary met Israeli President Isaac Herzog this morning. Of

Coffee House Shots live: election aftermath

59 min listen

Join Fraser Nelson, Katy Balls and Kate Andrews, along with special guest Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg, for a live edition of Coffee House Shots recorded earlier this week. A week on from Sir Jacob losing his seat, he declares ‘I can speak freely now’. So, why does he think the Conservatives lost the election? The team

Welcome to Whitehall Watch

14 min listen

What happens to staff in Whitehall when a government changes? In this Saturday edition of the podcast, Katy Balls is joined by Henry Newman, former adviser to Michael Gove. He now runs Whitehall Watch, a project exploring who’s up, who’s out, who’s in and what’s going down across Whitehall, the corridors of power and the

Can Labour solve our prisons crisis?

16 min listen

Justice secretary Shabana Mahmood has acknowledged that ‘our prisons are on the point of collapse’. She has announced that, from September, most prisoners serving sentences of less than four years will be released 40 per cent of the way through their sentences instead of the halfway point, which is currently the case. The policy will

Katy Balls

Starmer’s most radical prisons shake-up is still to come

When Keir Starmer gave his first Downing Street press conference last weekend, he warned that ‘tough decisions’ were coming shortly. The first of these is expected later today. The new Justice Secretary Shabana Mahmood is expected to announce plans to ease prison overcrowding in England and Wales. That plan is expected to involve prisoners being

Keir’s reformation: Labour’s radical plans

50 min listen

This week: Keir’s reformation. A week on from Labour’s victory in the UK general election, our cover piece looks ahead to the urgent issues facing Keir Starmer. If he acts fast, he can take advantage of having both a large majority and a unified party. The NHS, prisons, planning… the list goes on. But what

Katy Balls

Starmer must move fast without losing his head

When Keir Starmer’s Labour party gathered on Monday to celebrate their election victory, the difficulty was finding a big enough venue. There were so many MPs that aides had to abandon Labour’s usual meeting room on parliament’s committee corridor, and instead head for Church House, where Tony Blair met his party after the 1997 landslide.

Who will lead the Tories in opposition?

13 min listen

It’s been a big 24 hours in Tory-world as the party tries to pick itself up after last week’s defeat. We have had the first shadow cabinet meeting and the 1922 committee chairman election. Where do they go from here? And who could lead them?  James Heale speaks to Katy Balls and Fraser Nelson.  Produced

Can Labour deliver economic growth?

13 min listen

This morning, Rachel Reeves made her first speech as chancellor. She announced mandatory housing targets, promising 1.5 million homes over the next five years, as well as an end to the onshore wind ban. What else does she have in store, and can Labour deliver the growth the country needs? James Heale discusses with Katy

Katy Balls

Why MPs are braced for an ‘extremely turbulent few years’

Four days on from Keir Starmer’s landslide victory, Westminster is still soaking up the results of the general election. With the Labour leader safely ensconced in 10 Downing Street with a working majority of 181, the Tories are licking their wounds following their worst-ever defeat. The Conservatives’ greatest comfort is that they have managed to